Can You Cut Aluminum with a Scroll Saw?

The scroll saw blade is vital to making an accurate and precise cut.

There are a variety of power saws available to cut aluminum, with a scroll saw being one of them. While not the optimal saw for thick sheets of aluminum, this saw works really well for cutting thin sheets of aluminum when intricate curves and patterns are required. 

Can You Cut Aluminum with a Scroll Saw?

You can use a scroll saw to cut through just about any type of metal, including aluminum, copper, brass, bronze, and cold rolled steel. A scroll saw can be used to cut soft metal up to ⅛ inches thick.

If you have a thicker metal, you'll probably want to use a circular saw or bandsaw to make your cuts. These power saws are faster, more accurate, and safer for cutting thicker metals

The scroll saw blade is vital to making an accurate and precise cut.

Cutting Through Aluminum with a Scroll Saw

Aluminum is one of the most interesting metals - due to way aluminum extrusion works, it makes it one of the strongest metals around, even though it is highly malleable.

To cut aluminum with a scroll saw, you’ll want to use skip tooth blades. This is the key to cutting through thinner material.

What is a Skip Tooth Scroll Saw Blade?

To understand what a skip tooth scroll saw blade is, it helps to be familiar with a standard tooth blade. The teeth on a standard blade are the same size and distance apart. The two major types of standard blades are metal and wood. 

A skip tooth blade is much like a standard blade, only it is missing every other tooth. Because the gaps between teeth are wider, skip tooth blades stay cooler than standard blades.

Keeping the blade cool as it cuts is key to cutting through metal such as aluminum. If your blade burns up quickly, it will break and not make the cut. Skip tool blades allow you to cut thinner metals with a scroll saw. 

You can also make sure to cut at slower speeds, which helps the saw better cut the aluminum. 

Types of Scroll Saw Blades

There is a wide variety of saw blades, each used for a different purpose. Here’s a quick rundown of the most common types of scroll saw blades and their uses:

  • Standard: Features regularly spaced teeth and can be used to cut hardwood, soft wood, veneer, MDF, particle board, Corian, plastic, non-ferrous metal, and aluminum.
  • Spiral: This blade is good for cutting materials like hard or softwood, plaster, and wallboard. Spiral blades cut in all directions, which makes them good for zero degree radius work, like bevel cuts, scroll or fretwork, and cut-outs.
  • Skip tooth: This blade is designed for the most intricate and fine detail work. It is also good for cutting metals and for use by beginning scroll saw users.
  • Double tooth: The double tooth blade features tight groupings of double teeth separated by a gap. They are meant for ultra-fine work, such as jigsaw puzzles, line art, or tight radius work.
  • Metal cutting: A metal cutting scroll saw blade features additional teeth per inch to cut hard materials such as aluminum.
Close up view of two scroll saw blades

Are all Scroll Saw Blades the Same Length?

Scroll saw blades come in two major styles, pin end, and plain end. Plain end scroll saw blades come in either 5” or 6” lengths. Pin end blades come in 3”, 4”, and 5” lengths. If you buy a blade that’s too long for your scroll saw, you can trim it down to the right size.

Scroll Saw Considerations for Aluminum

In the end, a scroll saw might not be the best saw for you to use to cut metal. If it is the only power saw you have on hand, you might have to make it work. But, for larger projects where accuracy is important, you might want to consider investing in a different saw.

Using a Bandsaw Instead

Both scroll saws and bandsaws have a perpendicular cutting blade and work table. But, the bandsaw is built for heavy duty cuts.

They are actually very different machines and are meant for different kinds of uses. The blade on a scroll saw is short and moves up and down. This saw is designed for inside cuts and detailed work.

A band saw has a continuous blade that moves downward. It is a powerful saw that is made to cut thick materials of any length. A band saw can be used for some detail work, but it’s really best for rip cuts and outside cuts.

Materials a Scroll Saw Can Cut

A scroll saw can cut just about any material, provided you have the right blade. It doesn't cut thick material well, but will cut most materials as long as it is a thin piece. For example, a scroll saw can cut through hardwood, as long as it isn't too thick. 

You can cut the following materials with a scroll saw:

  • Plastic
  • Metal
  • Hardwood
  • Rubber
  • Leather
  • Bone

Conclusion

While a scroll saw can cut through thinner metal, it isn't your best choice. However, for thin metal like aluminum that requires cutting intricate curves, a scroll saw is a fantastic choice.